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Find out what Expert Member Julie Grindey enjoys about being a Research Ethics Committee member in the short video below.

An exciting opportunity for those interested in health research and ethics

Research Ethics Committee (REC) members are volunteers who review research taking place in the UK from an ethical viewpoint, protecting patients and the public while promoting good ethical research. 

Each member is assigned to a specific committee which has between seven and 18 members who are a mix of expert and lay. Every member’s contribution is valued equally. 

About the Research Ethics Service

There are 64 RECs in England that are overseen by the Research Ethics Service (RES), which is part of the Health Research Authority. The RES helps oversee the administration and management of RECs and provides members with essential information and training to help them in their role.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for people with a strong commitment to protecting patients and the public and also a commitment to promoting good ethical research. Candidates also need to be able to undertake the commitment detailed below. 

Practical considerations:

Before applying you will need to consider whether you can commit to:

  • attending full REC meetings on a monthly basis (there is a maximum of 10 meetings a year and you will need to be able to attend a minimum of six). Meetings last about four to five hours and require five to six hours of reading in preparation. In most cases, we will be able to find you a REC that is local to you to help minimise travel. Any travel costs will be reimbursed in line with the HRA committee members reimbursement of expenses guidance;
  • undertaking sub-committee work in addition to full REC meetings (approximately two to three times a year) requiring approximately two hours reading for each subcommittee meeting;
  • reviewing research applications electronically through our Members’ Portal or email; and
  • undertaking induction training within your first six months of appointment, equality and diversity training within your first year of appointment and then complete a minimum of five hours training related to research ethics for each of your remaining years as a REC member.
Interests: Skills required: Skills gained: Activities:
Protecting patients and public Ability to read, understand and analyse complex issues and weigh up conflicting opinions; Understanding of research ethics; Full REC meetings (face to face)
Health research Ability to take an objective stance, looking at a situation from several perspectives; and Increased knowledge in research including methodology and statistics; Sub-committee meetings (electronically)
Research ethics A good communicator with a practical approach and confidence to voice your opinions. Understanding of relevant legislation; Training
Developments in healthcare Specialised knowledge, for example paediatric research or adults lacking capacity to give consent;
Working with a group of member from a variety of backgrounds Enhanced committee skills: summarising, debating, evaluating and decision making; and
Opportunity to train for the role of a REC Officer i.e. Chair or Vice Chair.

Attend a REC meeting to find out more

If you would like to come along to observe a REC meeting you can do so easily by contacting the REC manager for any committee.

What do people think about being part of a REC?

louise-taylor

What I really value is all the learning that's offered through the HRA and the reciprocity that brings to my organisation. So not only am I able to contribute positively to the Research Ethics Committee – I would hope – but also that learning gets transferred into my own organisation. 

Dr Louise Taylor, Expert Member

Hear more from Louise and what it's like to be an expert member in her short video.

peter-donnelly

I find the work within the Research Ethics Committee very useful and interesting and the HRA provides excellent training. The colleagues you work with provide a lot of expertise and help which is also very useful.

Don't be afraid of volunteering because the HRA does provide the necessary training and advice.

Peter Donnelly, Lay Member

Hear more from Peter and what it's like to be a lay member in his short video.

judie-ormrod

The really positive aspect about being a member of a Research Ethics Committee is that you have the opportunity to really voice your views and they are taken seriously. Everyone's view is as valid as everyone else's.

Some discussions we have are very lively, they're never acrimonious – we occasionally go to a vote – but it's tremendous fun.

Dr Judie Ormrod, Expert Member

Hear more from Judie and what it's like to be an expert member in her short video.

Does this sound like something you might be interested in?

For more information or to apply to become a REC member, please read the information below:

There are two person specifications which you should also refer to when making an application:

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